I have this theory that crudités – now very popular and on many restaurant menus – have never wanted to be as luxurious as the word seems. Sure, the talented chef serves up splendid asparagus spears (maybe white spears?) or radishes with flawless, pure greens strung on antique ceramics. But for this column and in fact, if you only have friends, a plate of beautiful sweet peppers or wedges of ripe tomatoes with a simple and delicious sauce is actually a very modest thing to serve. He might say, “I like you, I like vegetables and I think you’ll like these, too.”
I don’t box baked goods—they can be fancy or not—but it’s hard to deny they’re the perfect summer appetizer—and the markets are full of vegetables you’ll want to eat raw. However, crudités are a solid year-round appetizer to keep in your back pocket.